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I admit that sometimes I get stuck in my ways and change becomes a bad word. It’s not that I am apposed to change. I enjoy comfort. However, in my experiences, I have learned that change is needed when you are the most comfortable. It is only then that you truly grow.  We see Pastor Bullock make his case to the Detroit City Council on why he should be one of them. Even with the support of members of his congregation, his bid for a seat on the City Council fell short. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to make it. The intensity by which he pursued this post exposed his flaws. It was refreshing to see him at the table with Bishops Langston and Ellis a bit more subdued. He was no doubt disappointed but patient and receptive. If Bullock wants to pursue a City Council seat, now is the time for him to change some of his methods.

More often than not, change is painful as in the case of Pastor Shelby’s eldest daughter. After much declaration of saved lifestyle, it was revealed that she lost her virginity while a teem. She didn’t run form the truth when it came out. In fact, she embraced it. She changed the perception of her personal failure. From a painful memory to a valuable lesson to teach. Her ability to change a positive to a negative may prove valuable to all young people. Yet her parents may have the toughest time changing and Bishop Corletta Vaughn is the symbol of that change.

The Shelby’s and the Vaughn’s went out to dinner together and I knew this would be a clash of ideologies rooted in their very beliefs. You could already tell throughout the season that Bishop Vaughn being a woman and serving with that title and authority was an issue for them. It is an issue in a most churches. Not just in Detroit but worldwide. Bishop Vaughn has been a force for women’s rights for years whereas Pastor Don Shelby Jr, Is a traditionalist.. Pastor Shelby believes in a woman’s place is by her husband’s side and defiantly not in the pulpit. He even said “I wanted to marry a woman and not a Bishop!”. Mrs. Shelby has the greatest problem with this. Bishop Vaughn is the total opposite of herself. It became obvious during their discussion, Mrs. Shelby became defiant. Not because of anything Bishop Vaughn said, but because Bishop Vaughn represents a direct challenge to the Shelby lifestyle, Bishop Vaughn represents a mirror of what Mrs. Shelby could have become. What dreams or goals did little girl Shelby have that were put aside in favor of becoming Mrs. Don Shelby?

As I watched this heated discussion, I realized Hilary Clinton is going to have to have the same discussion with America. If Hilary Clinton wants to win the White House, She has to follow Bishop Corletta Vaughn’s lead and convince America that change must come again. Time has come for women to use their gifts and talents on the same platforms as us men, How long are we as men going to continue to blame the daughters of Eve for the apple? How long are we going punish the women for our absence of paradise?  Its time to embrace change. Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden together for they both ate the apple and only by working together as equals can we get a piece of that paradise back. Holla if you hear me!

K. Greene

Vaughn and Bullock

Last Friday evening, we got a look at the most important part of ministry. That is Stewardship to the people. Back in the Civil Rights Movement, White supremacists firebombed Black Churches. Not because Black folks were in them, but because those churches meant everything to the community. Those churches were the gathering places. Community news was shared. During the Civil Rights movement, all marches and protests were planned at the church. They were shelters in a vicious world. The Pastor ensured the churches remained safe havens where he tended to his congregation on a personal level.

As we see in Evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, this can be a huge undertaking. Her schedule stretches her very thin. In the process, she becomes very tired and old wounds start to surface. With the help of her sister, a therapist, and reassurance from her daughter, Dorinda found peace to endure the road ahead. Pastor Shelby and First Lady Shelby deal with one of their own at Burning Bush International. A young woman named Christian who struggles with homelessness and addiction not to mention trying to raise a very young child on her own. Things started off rocky at first but they were able to get her the help she needs. Only time will tell if they were successful.

A successful community is the goal of all our Preachers. For Bishop Corletta Vaughn, success for her community will be imported from Peru. Multi-Millionaire Fernando Palenzuelo purchased the old Packard Plant which is walking distance from her church Holy Ghost Cathedral. Bishop Vaughn met with Mr. Palenzuelo and thought it will be a great idea to have a town hall. There, Mr. Palanzuelo can meet the community and outline his plans for development including jobs for the community. Bishop Vaughn also spoke to Pastor Bullock about the town hall. Pastor Bullock is known for his work in the community and bringing him in would be a good move. Pastor Bullock jumped at the chance when he found out City Council President Brenda Jones was going to be in attendance. This was his chance to make a political contact. A political contact he will desperately need if his hopes of getting elected to the Detroit City Council is realized.

I had the pleasure of covering the town hall and you can read about it on this site in the archives: “The Packard: An Answered Prayer for Prosperity”  . On screen, we see what my spot at a table could not. I was dismayed to say the least. I know or met just about all of the community leaders and activists in Detroit through covering events and hosting a show on Urban Nation Radio. Needless to say, getting them all on the same page is difficult at best.  Yet they all share one thing in common. They let their work speak for them. Self promotion is not more important than the causes they champion. I saw no such thing in Pastor Bullock. While the night was clearly for the community of East Grand Blvd and Mt Elliott, Pastor Bullock’s sole focus was on himself. Even left early when it appeared to him that meeting City Council President Brenda Jones seemed unlikely. He missed that opportunity as well as the opportunity to meet Mr. Palanzuelo himself and voice any community concerns he had. Youth and energy are great assets but often betrayed by a lack of patience. I like Pastor Bullock’s passion for the community but his lack of seasoning is getting in the way of him doing mighty things.

Oxygen network is already hyping the next episode as “Bullock vs. Vaughn”. The events of the town hall will be discussed. I hope Pastor Bullock really listens to Bishop Vaughn. Pastor Bullock has to become the key to Detroit’s future. He has to realize that after the last episode of this show airs, it’s his deeds that people need to see. The Pastor Bullock that he is currently showing everyone echoes the self-centered politicians that got Detroit in the mess it is in today. The people have seen enough of that. Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene

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A Friday night in Detroit is a guaranteed great time and this past Friday night was no exception, I had the pleasure of attending a “Preachers of Detroit” watch party hosted by the most popular cast member, Bishop Corletta Vaughn. The Signature Bar and Grill was pack with fans and family as Bishop Vaughn greeted everyone with a hug and a smile. Her larger than life personality spread throughout the room. However, once the clock struck 8pm, all eyes were fixated on the televisions for “Preachers of Detroit”.

This episode brings in seldom seen cast member Pastor Tim Alden along side it’s most controversial Pastor David Bullock. Pastor Bullock invites Pastor Alden to his Safe Sex talk night at his church and the clash of ideologies began. Pastor Alden believes in the traditional path of abstinence. So much so that he himself is a 50yr old virgin. Pastor Alden came up to the podium excited to share his story and promote abstinence. However, his excitement would be short lived as was his message. Before Pastor Alden could get far into his speech, he was abruptly cut off by Pastor Bullock. Also, Pastor Bullock proceeded to hand out condoms! Pastor Bullock is okay with premarital sex as long as protection is used. The look on Pastor Alden’s face was of humiliation with borderline rage. We will have to see this Friday how this turns out.

Pastor Don W. Shelby Jr. is fighting his own battle and holding on to his traditional views when discussing his kid’s careers in music. Pastor Shelby’s kids formed a singing group called “The Shelby 5″. They are very good too!! More importantly, they see the need to improve to become successful. That means possibly working with producers and artists who perform secular(non-Gospel) music. That doesn’t sit well with Pastor Shelby. Anything outside of traditional, old-school church values is a no go in his house.

The same goes for the women in Pastor Shelby’s house as well. The Shelby women were invited to cast member, Bishop Corletta Vaughn’s women’s conference. Mrs. Shelby and her daughters were already not on board with Bishop Vaughn being a Bishop. Now, asking them to come to a women’s empowerment conference is asking too much. A young lady on Twitter asked me “Why doesn’t Bishop Vaughn respect Mrs. Shelby’s position?”. Since I had Bishop Vaughn 10ft from me, I asked Bishop Vaughn herself. Bishop Vaughn Replied ” I respect Mrs. Shelby’s position for her, but not for all women”. In the question and answer session after the show, Bishop Vaughn went on to say “As women we are just to diverse and talented to only be housewives. All women should be able to have a choice.”
The past and the present will always clash. Why? Because the future is at stake. The past got us here but the present is all about change. Without change, there is no way we can make ourselves better. Our future is depending on that. This Friday, Bishop Corletta Vaughn will fight for the future of one of her own. I hope everyone watches and learn something very valuable. Holla if you hear me!
-K. Greene

A Thought

Posted: March 12, 2015 in Reflections

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I have heard an old saying in reference to African-Americans. It states that we are like crabs in a bucket pulling each other down. Upon further study of crabs, I have made a new conclusion.

The immediate question is why the hell are crabs in the bucket? Crabs don’t live in buckets. I have seen them near oceans just doing what crabs do. They are not overly aggressive animals prowling the beach looking to snap at other crabs or terrorize tourist. They keep to themselves mostly only venturing out to find food or a mate. During certain times of the year, you can catch them moving in unison across the beach like an army. Yet pulling each other down or hindering another’s movements is not among it’s activities. If a crab ends up in a bucket, Its usually because someone has plans on making that crab dinner. Given the size of crabs, that someone would need quite a few crabs to make a meal. So now you have a bunch of crabs piled on top of one another, fighting for their lives.

We African-Americans are very similar. When left alone, we tend to keep to ourselves and live pretty normal. However, we are constantly being put in a bucket. This bucket is not made of metal or wood but of far more sinister materials.  This bucket we are being put in is made of racism, income inequality, poverty, cuts in education funding, racial profiling, police brutality, and injustice. Also like the crab, we are fighting for our lives. So we struggle frantically and some violently for a way out.

That is one of the reasons I write this blog. This is my way of kicking over the bucket, I write so that the way out is attainable without having to pull our neighbors down along the way. Yet there are those that choose to stay in the bucket. They were born there, raised there, and more than likely will die there.  They have become accustomed to the bucket and will choose to live there. Institutionalized in their own homes. This is also why I hate stereotypes. Some find it easier to lump people up in one big pot rather than treat  everyone as an equal. Next time you hear someone lumping a group of folks together in a comment, keep brother crab in mind. Listen to the substance of the bucket people are being put in then ask yourself a question: Am I a cruel person that admires the bucket or am I a conscience person that helps people find tools on how to get out? Holla if you Hear Me!

K.Greene

 

 

2015

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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I have been quietly observing the start of the new year. Of course, I had to giggle a little bit at all the Facebook posts of New Years resolutions and promises. I won’t remember if they kept them by December 31st but I doubt they will either. In my opinion, New Years resolutions are more customary than they are kept. However, every now an then someone surprises me and actually follows through. If you made one, I wish you all due success! This year, there are a few things I am going to look for a follow through on. I felt like 2014 was a lot like the middle movie of a trilogy.  In fact, the movie “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”(1980) comes to mind.

In 2014, the empire indeed struck back. The empire I speak of is the empire of racism. It would be easy to lay all of this at the feet of the Republican party but I will get to them in a minute. Young African-Americans have always been the target of police brutality and racial profiling. However, 2014 became the year murdering young blacks became frequent by law enforcement. Also some instances have been caught on tape and no charges filed against the officers. It was as if killing young African-Americans was just part of the job. The deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner in New York gave birth to the “Black Likes Matter” movement which has led to peaceful protests around the globe. In 2015, I will be looking to see how long will “Black Lives Matter” last. Does it have the right people involved to keep it going? How will African-Americans respond?

The republican party took 2014 by storm in the Elections. They did a great job using low African-American voter turnout along with convincing White voters that President Obama only has the intention of helping African-Americans and the LGBT community. The Republicans have done such a good job, that they control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. All bills must now go through them. Including any that involve regulating police brutality and racial profiling. President Obama called for a task force to look into the Michael Brown situation. Yet I fear it is too little, too late. Islamic terrorist have struck new targets in Paris and Nigeria. Also the Isis situation in the Middle East  has not made any progress. The President’s attention will be heavily focused in this area. This year I am looking forward to Attorney General Eric Holder’s report on Ferguson, MO. I wonder how will he proceed if he finds civil rights violations. I bring this issue up because this is the last calendar year President Obama can make any progress. A new president will be elected in 2016 and the Republican empire will do everything it can to make sure any thing President Obama does, meets a quick death.  In this area, I will be looking for our President to move swiftly to put us in a better place as a nation before Republican greed seals our fate.

Most importantly, I am going to be looking at my fellow human beings real close this year. Last year we made a lot of mistakes. We have not advanced at all as a people. Last year, we fought and clawed at each other for the dumbest of reasons. I am looking for those who realize all life matters. I want to embrace those who realize our country’s value is it’s people and not the wealthy. Yes in 2014, we were successfully divided and those who would profit from it have a stronghold on our culture. In 2015, I wonder…. who will realize that we are all in this together. Holla if you hear me.

K. Greene

Black Lives and Blue Rules

Posted: December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

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“Breathe young man…. Breathe.” I kept telling myself this as I watched the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. The swelling of the crowd and the charged emotions appeared to overflow into my living room. However, the situation was deep in my heart.  Like most African-Americans, I kept my eyes on the TV awaiting word  if justice would take its course. Michael Brown’s mother stood on top of a car to hear the prosecutor’s hollow words. Justice will not come this night. Nor will peace to Ferguson Missouri. Her screams of anger gave way to uncontrollable tears of pain. Once family and supporters hugged Brown’s mother and whisked her away, the looting and unrest began. Everything I wrote about in the blog “Close to Combustion’ was coming to fruition.

Nothing blinds you more than anger.

I was consumed. Everything became black and white. I looked at the world I enjoyed with scrutiny rooted in spite. I felt alienated by the very law that is sworn to serve and protect me. I am far from naïve. Racial profiling and disproportionate sentences are common but for the first time, I felt it had been rubbed in the face of every African-American. Also in light of several instances of police brutality, some fatal, Black America has had enough. Now a couple weeks later, we learned that the Officer that killed Eric Garner by chokehold (Which was ruled a homicide by the coroner) will not face charges as well. The slogan “Black Lives Matter” became our new rallying cry and peaceful protests manifested all over the world.

God given clarity.

I went to church with current events still causing moments of concern. Peace was not coming to me at all. Bishop Corletta Vaughn made Black Lives Matter part of her sermon for the day. During her message, she said something that shook loose my thoughts “What if Michael Brown had got out of the street like Officer Wilson asked him to do at first?”. Yes, I forgot about that nugget of information and things became clear. We obviously have racist policies regarding African-Americans and law enforcement. What we need to do is take ourselves out of the equation by simply obeying and respecting the law. We have to walk that uncomfortable fine line. If black lives truly matter to us, we have to live it. We have to be better mentors, parents, and leaders. Teaching our young people to respect the law and each other must become paramount! A lot is riding on this. When the police pulls us or our young people over, we have to be spotless. This will make their racism more blatant. Right now, each case has a probable cause element to it. That has to be removed in order to make our accusations stick. There has to be some accountability to go along with our protests. Who knows, we may even turn around some bad seeds in our own community in the progress

Law enforcement has a taste for blood.

Our protests have been heard and met with opposition. Professional athletes have worn the “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts and took the playing fields with their hands up in support of the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In each city, law enforcement has called these actions disrespectful to police officers. I was taken aback by this! Protecting and serving is no longer the motto. Execution and death during apprehension is totally accepted whereas rouge cops where once punished for it, In 1992, Officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn were charged and convicted of second degree murder in the beating death of Malice Green. Today they would have gone free. Now, 2 NYPD officers have been ambushed and killed. The police chief wants “Wartime” Status. It appears the NYPD wants their way or else! We will give them the “Or Else” option. However, it will be peacefully in the spirit of Martin Luther King with the intensity of Malcolm X and our minds on the future. Holla if you hear me!

– K. Greene

Clear Wisdom

Posted: October 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

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I wonder how many people understand this picture? I mean, really put it in proper context. I know you are wondering what I am getting at? Trust me, when I am done, the chaos referred to in this picture will become clear. I heard the quote once before but now as I see it scroll down my Facebook feed,  reality was once again there to greet me.

People often complain about the news and the stories they cover. Many see news media as simply reaping their ratings from consistently reporting on the ugliness of people. It is the same with reality shows such as Real Housewives of wherever, Anything on VH1,  and Maury with his DNA test to see the winners and losers of his “Baby Daddy” searches. Those are just the domestic examples. Now let’s throw in the pot the stock market, the economy, and war abroad.  All those things come together nicely in a chaos soup that we are being force-fed daily. The even crazier part is the fact that we are the Chefs. We asked for all of this. We ordered the ingredients necessary to feed our appetites for drama, selfishness, and wealth. We have to have these things by any means necessary especially if it will make you rich and famous! That’s why the words in the picture are so powerful!

“People were created to be loved.

Things were created to be used.

The reason why the world is in chaos

is because things are being loved

and people are being used.”

The wisdom in this statement cannot be anymore clearer! We can care less about our fellow-man. When it comes to our wants, needs, and greed, we will sacrifice and use anybody.  People get married for wealth. Some folks sell out their friends for a good story. Then there are those that will kill someone else for a large inheritance or a small reputation. Racism and prejudice are used to belittle one group of people in favor of another for all sorts of advantages. There are those men who feel the need rape and beat a woman to make them feel like a man. If a person decides to live a different way than us, it is customary to ridicule that person before understanding that person. Provided we even care after all of the ridicule. The potential to own a luxury car and a big house is worth more than a few hundred people. Don’t believe me? Ask your local politician. Better yet, watch him. He will show you before he will tell you.

There you have all the chaos your news media and reality shows need.  We feed these things with our own desires. I wonder what will happen if we desire to love each other and actually use things. What if  owning a Corvette and Mansion meant nothing if a few hundred had to suffer in order for you to have it? What if people were loved and money was used instead of money being loved and people being used? I hope one day we use clear wisdom and put an end to chaos.  I admit I am hoping for a lot but it’s worth it. Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

 

 

We Still Must Rise

Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The literary community lost a giant in Maya Angelou.  It shook me not because of legacy she left, but the future of the literary arts going forward.  Ms. Angelou’s timeless wisdom poured out in her writing as water from a fountain.  Little did she know that her writing would nourish us all.

I admit some frustration in my work as of late. My words didn’t seem to fit their arrangement. The voice I had built in my writing now became as a foreign language.  A writer without his words is like a singer without a song.  Writer’s block is what it’s commonly called.  Maya Angelou’s death shattered that block.  The reason I love to write became clear.  Words spoken can be easily forgotten.  However, Words well written last forever.  People die but words do not.  The proper words could Inspire, Destroy, Teach, or Create.  A poem could bring true love or warn of moral doom.  This led me to a chilling realization.  The Literary arts are in danger.

Social media has the world communicating like never before.  Facebook and Twitter has been leading the way and that scares me.  A thought has a 140 character limit so it is hacked to death in illegible, slang-ridden shorthand.  Facebook is littered with rants absent of punctuation and heavy laden in misspelling. The thoughts they are trying to convey become a mass of twisted prepositional phrases void of direction.  This is now how we communicate and how can we communicate like this? Are we to write books and poetry like this as well?

Maya Angelou’s shoes are too big for one person to fill.  We all have to. Everyone inspired by her writing must honor her memory by holding true to our craft.  We have to be the ones that use our words to inspire, create, uplift, warn, and encourage.   As writers, we have to show the world the proper way to communicate.  Our words have to pass our wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the ages with clarity and definition.  Brother and Sister Writers, There will not be another Maya Angelou.  She left a legacy to inspire us for we still must Rise!  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

P.S. New Twitter handle!! @KellyGLive72

Trayvon Martin

Posted: March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
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AT 17 I HAD BIG DREAMS,

I HAD A GIRLFRIEND; I MADE THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM,

I HAD A FAMILY THAT LOVED ME.

I HAD  ONLY A PACK OF SKITTLES AND AN ICED TEA.

I DIDN’T KNOW WHY HE WAS CHASING ME.

I DON’T KNOW WHY HE IGNORED MY PLEAS.

THERE HE SHOT ME AND THERE I LAY.

THE POLICE CAME OUT  SAID EVERYTHING IS OKAY.

WHY DO I HAVE TO DIE?

WHY DOES HE GO FREE?

I AM TRAYVON MARTIN…WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR ME?

-K. Greene

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Dear Lord,

I come to you on behalf of thousands who are in need.  For all those who have lost much and gained little.  For all those who have worked hard but rewarded with less.  For every man, woman, and child in Detroit abused or distressed.

 I pray for their hearts: May they be strengthened.  That they remain encouraged and strong in weathering our social and financial storm.  So they may find comfort in one another.

 I pray for their minds: May they be open to change.  Stimulate their thirst for knowledge and wisdom. 

 I pray for their homes: May they be allowed to keep them.  They need a safe place to rest their weary bodies and minds.  A place to shield and nurture their children. Keep the greed of banks at bay.  Instruct the banks in the ways of forgiveness and mercy.  

  Lord I pray for the Police and Fire Departments that you may bless their work.  Let them know that they are making a difference in spite of the pay cuts and sacrifices they had to make. 

I pray for the prosperity of my city. We need back the jobs that were taken by greed and selfishness. We need our school system returned to health so our children can be inspired by new books and teachers.  May old tattered books be a thing of the past.  Pass your blessings to teachers willing to teach and instruct our children. 

I pray that your hand spreads throughout our streets and wipe away the stench of murder and grief.  That tears of sorrow be replaced by smiles of hope. I pray that differences be put aside and instead of hands grabbing weapons; hands working together for the good of us all!   In all these things I pray, AMEN!

   Pray if you hear me!

                              – K. Greene

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If you asked me last month, if “Preachers of Detroit” would be one of the highest rated TV shows on primetime Friday night, I would have said no. I would not have thought that a faith-based reality show set in a small market could hold the nation’s attention. I would have been wrong, very wrong. “Preachers of Detroit” has taken the world by storm and I couldn’t be happier. This show is one of the top trending topics on social media every Friday night.

Last Friday, Another event took place on the show that I couldn’t be happier about. Bishop-Elect Clarence Langston and Pastor David Bullock patched things up. Their initial meeting was tumultuous to say the least. Before Bishop-Elect Clarence Langston can become a full Bishop, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson gave him a directive that he must do before he can take office. Before Langston can become Bishop, he must make peace with his life. Including healing an old wound left by the murder of his mother when he was a child. As Bishop Langston stood over the grave of his mother, I came to a realization. If Bishop Langston ever wanted to see what Pastor Bullock is trying to accomplish, he need only to look at himself.  Pastor Bullock’s work in the community is to prevent children from going through exactly what Bishop Langston went through. Pastor Bullock believes that Preachers have to get involved in the community. Their influence can help deter drugs, increase hope, and cut down crime. The community needs that leadership. Reaching out can change anyone’s situation or even save a life.

The life of “Preachers of Detroit’s” most popular cast member is coming to the forefront. Marriage is difficult. Especially between successful people. Bishop Corletta Vaughn and Pastor Gilbert Vaughn are those people. The Vaughns have been married 30yrs. I have known them for the past 15yrs and in those 15yrs, I never had reason to doubt their devotion to one another. Yet, I will never underestimate the demands of ministry on any couple and The Vaughns are no exception. I admire Bishop Vaughn’s bravery in allowing everyone to see those difficulties. All married couples go through rough patches. My wife and I included. It was through one of these rough patches that I learned a valuable lesson. Old wounds and miscommunication can cause rifts and arguments. The important thing that you have to keep your focus on what you are fighting for. If you fighting for respect, pride, or to prove a point, I guarantee your marriage will end. If you fight for your marriage and your spouse, you will endure. Over the next few weeks, we will see Bishop Vaughn and her husband endure some difficulties. All married couples have dreams of prosperity and greatness. Yet we don’t consider the stress on a marriage quadruples when one or both become successful. I will be watching and praying we all learn a valuable lesson. Also, in the process, learning to value each other even more. Holla if your hear me.

– K. Greene

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I admit I am not the biggest fan of reality television. I have avoided it since VH1’s “Flavor of Love” Shenanigans. Yet the American public can’t get enough of it. When Oxygen debuted “Preachers of L.A.”, my wife found her reality TV addiction. I joined her a few nights on the sofa and took in this look in on the lives of these preachers. These were legit preachers but for all their good deeds, It felt Hollywood, The Glitz and Glam of L.A. cast a bigger shadow over the cast itself. Enter “Preachers of Detroit”

Detroit is a city filled with hard workers who have fallen on the hardest of times. It’s times like this where people rely on their faith. Local pastors do their absolute best to bring their congregations the word of God and the Oxygen Network wants to introduce you to a few of them. Bishop Charles Ellis III, Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Pastor Tim Alden, Bishop Clarence Langston, Pastor Don William Shelby Jr., Evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Pastor David Bullock. Each one bring their own individual style to delivering the word of God. For the people who attend their churches, this is the most important person in their lives.  These Preachers are Leaders, Mentors, and Guides in their path to salvation. The world is getting a peek at the lives of these Preachers in the coming weeks and what you will see will astound you. The first episode has already set the nation ablaze, Pastor Bullock’s stance on community responsibility and Bishop Vaughn’s battle against sexism in the church has audiences riveted! The City of Detroit itself is overjoyed at the national attention.

So I sat back and observed and read every ounce of media I could get my hands on related to the show. The results were interesting to say the least. TV critics and news media loved it. They see it as a bonafide hit sure to keep everyone talking. The faith based audience however,  is split.  Many don’t believe preachers should be on TV. Some don’t believe that Pastors should have Bentleys or mansions given the current state of the city. The Church of God In Christ denomination believes that no woman can hold the position of Bishop and has made their objections to Bishop Vaughn known. One would think that a show about preachers would have the full endorsement all believers of God, This couldn’t be further from the truth, I was saddened by this until I remembered those words in big letters in the back of Bishop Corletta Vaughn’s church. They read “Declaring War on Biblical Ignorance”. That is the purpose of this show. These Pastors will discuss each topic and give us a glimpse into their world and just maybe a few more eyes will be opened. I know mine will be every Friday evening,  Holla if you hear me!

 

– K. Greene

 

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My favorite Bible verse of all time is Ecclesiastes 3:1. It reads “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.(King James Version)”.  For a neighborhood on the eastside of Detroit, that time is now.  The old Packard car plant which lay dormant for years is about to receive new life from across the seas. European billionaire Fernando Palazuelo purchased the old 3,500,000 square foot complex with hopes of bringing new business and jobs to an area in desperate need of a boost.

A town hall was held at Holy Ghost Cathedral in the next block down from the old building under the leadership of Bishop Corletta Vaughn. A rainy Thursday evening would bring the new owner of the Packard building together with his new neighbors for the first time. Cameras from the new reality series “Preachers of Detroit” were rolling to show the world this event. “It’s an exciting night” Bishop Vaughn opens with a smile. That excitement was shared by all in attendance. A small church with a Bishop who’s personality is as large as life itself, filled to capacity to hear a big announcement that will change the face of the eastside of Detroit forever. All walks of life came to hear what was coming. The plant closed in 1958 and once employed 40,000 people. This was the first ray of hope in the area in 56yrs. Everyone that came through the door was grateful decades of apathy on East Grand Blvd was coming to an end.

Fernando Palazuelo had great success in Peru refurbishing buildings and making them suitable for business. Mr. Palazuelo presented a power point of his accomplishments in Lima, Peru. His first set of slides highlighted his success with buildings in Peru as old as the Packard. His methods were to preserve as much of the original buildings as possible while at the same time give them an artistic facelift. His passion for art is prevalent in the buildings featured in the slides. Palazuelo’s company Arte Express will now focus on the old Packard plant. In fact, they have established Arte Express Detroit LLC to symbolize their commitment to Detroit. This will be no small feat. The total time for the renovation is expected to take 7-15yrs with 1500yrds of debris already cleared.

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A Q&A followed. The Dais Included, Fernando Palazuelo, Kari Smith Packard Project Manager, and City Council President Brenda Jones; moderated by Bishop Corletta Vaughn.  Anyone in attendance had the opportunity to express any concerns or to ask questions any questions they wished pertaining to the city or the Packard Plant development and indeed they did! One after another, residents approached the microphone to express what was on their minds and hearts. Some just wanted to thank him for his investment in the community. A few asked about jobs and opportunities for skilled trades. One business owner was concerned about the lack of adequate lighting in the area. Another was concerned about the effect of the construction on her business which borders the old Packard Plant. The most heartfelt concerns came from the firefighters who manned the fire station in the next block. The words they shared shook everyone in attendance. As the veteran first responder stepped forward, all eyes were fixed upon him as one of the most important members of the community. Then he spoke. He acknowledged Bishop Vaughn and her husband Pastor Gilbert Vaughn as having supported them in the community since the beginning of the church over 20yrs ago. Especially, during the loss of one their fellow fireman killed in the line of duty. He also welcomed Mr. Palazuelo to the area and pledged the support of the station but there was a problem. The fireman informed all in attendance that the station will soon close due to budget cuts. They were told the news by their superiors at their last meeting. The station itself is one of oldest in the city. It was built back when horses pulled the water pumps. The original hayloft used to feed the horses is still there. Also due to budget cuts, the station is not equipped to handle full scale fires and their current rig is scaled down to handle small fires and rescues only.

Everyone was taken aback by this news. City Council President Brenda Jones used her phone to seek the truth of the Fireman’s claim and was notified via text that the station was not being closed. The Fireman was unmoved by the text. He knew what he was told and the conditions in which he worked, upheld his beliefs. Bishop Vaughn was very concerned as was Mr. Palazuelo. The people in the seats sat stunned. The neighborhood as a whole wanted to know what was going on with their fire station and as a community, felt a little less safe. This would be the first time in a long while this community spoke as one. The Firemen who protected this community now had the strength of the community on their side.

Once the meeting was adjourned, Bishop Vaughn and Mr. Palazuelo greeted all who stayed after. Those who brought resumes, got a chance to give them to Mr. Palazuelo personally. After all, these are his neighbors and he spoke to each person as such. I sat at my table and smiled. I couldn’t stop smiling. Detroit’s revitalization was happening in one of the most unlikeliest of locations. So unlikely that none of Detroit’s major news outlets made it to the event. Of course, they got the story of the first announcements but they didn’t get this. They didn’t witness the faces of excitement I saw. They didn’t sit in the presence of this abundance of hope. I witnessed one of the most decimated communities in Detroit find their way again. It was like witnessing a whole neighborhood wake from a brutal coma. It can easily be said that while I sat in the back of this church, I witnessed a neighborhood blessed like no other. Holla if you hear me.

-K Greene

Detroit Fist

A little known fact about myself is that I have an addiction for information. The subject matters not. I count it all worthy knowledge.  Sometimes when doing research, Google baits me with words previously undisclosed to my eyes. The search for the meanings and related pictures satisfy my cravings. Recently my hunger for information led me to an uneasy find. This find would lead me to an even worse realization.

For reasons that escape me to this day given the high profile nature of the case, Michael Brown’s autopsy report was made public. We all know he was shot by a Ferguson police officer with his hands raised. The Autopsy report would shed a little more light on the events of that interaction between Michael Brown and Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.   I hesitated a few times before looking at the report. As a father myself, The images of the pain in the face of Michael’s father at the funeral haunted me for days. The loss of a son is the worse pain there is. The report would bring those images back in full force but in here lies the truth. There were two things that stood out that brought an immediate knot in my stomach.

1. On one of Michael’s hands, there is a gunshot wound. The report suggests that it was from the officer Wilson’s gun and more importantly, at close range. There is also another report of Michael’s blood being found on Officer Wilson’s patrol car. This corroborates Officer Wilson’s story of a struggle in his patrol car.

2. Toxicology report revealed the most important fact and this fact could very well clear Officer Wilson. The report stated that Michael Brown had Marijuana in his system at the time he was killed.

Any first year defense attorney would argue these two points in Officer Wilson’s defense. Anytime someone has been charged with a crime, toxicology has always been used to determine motive or state of mind of an offender. Officer Wilson’s defense will be Michael Brown was high, out of control, and  went for the officer’s gun to get away. That part of the story would be enough to clear any cop nationwide. Here is were the fuse will be lit. Michael Brown stopped when Officer Wilson commanded him to and put his hands in the air as a sign of surrender. Instead of calling for backup and placing Michael Brown in handcuffs, Officer Wilson proceeded to repeatedly shoot Michael Brown. A close range shot to the head being the death blow.  For that part, there is no excuse. Instead of due process, Michael Brown was executed. Justice denied and Officer Darren Wilson now stands a great chance of being exonerated.

For this fact, I am extremely fearful. Ferguson, MO will erupt in a true riot and not the sensationalized one covered a few months ago. Other cities will follow. Old cases will be revisited with fresh anger. Racial tensions that are already at breaking points around the nation will explode. Friendships will be tested and others fractured beyond repair. We have our justice system and elected officials to thank for this. By continuing African-American economic and educational inequality and oppression, we have a racial stress bomb that threatens the peace that we desperately need in this day and age. I can tell by the Republican private war on President Obama that things are unlikely to change. In fact, Now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives and the Senate, things may get worse. I am praying no more innocent blood is spilled due to ignorance. Pray and Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene